Believe it or not, the answer is that occasional pimples or zits do not constitute a true case of acne. Although zits do seem to have the ability to appear almost instantaneously and at the most inopportune times like picture day, prom night, spelling bees, sporting events, dates, and special award ceremonies, they are not a true acne outbreak.
The dictionary defines acne as "an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands, characterized by comedones and pimples, especially on the face, back, chest, and, in severe cases, by cysts and nodules resulting in scarring."
The anatomical definition of sebaceous glands is: "small subcutaneous glands usually connected with hair follicles. The follicles secrete an oily semi-fluid matter, composed in great part of fat, which softens and lubricates the hair and skin."
Real acne outbreaks are actually a disease of the skin. However, the great news is that acne is treatable. Although it can be very embarrassing, cause great emotional distress, and lower your personal self-esteem for a period of time, acne is not fatal.
There are new and effective treatments being sought by researchers and great advances have been made in the treatment of acne in the last few years. Years ago, when a person had acne, they were pretty much stuck with the problem. There were very few treatments available and the medical profession didn't even consider acne a disease.
It was long thought that acne was the direct result of a diet that was too high in fat and/or sweets. That is no longer the case. Acne is most often associated with puberty and the onset of pre-teen and teenage years but it can and does develop in adults as well. When acne does finally heal, there can be permanent scars left (from picking and popping) that are unsightly and cause patients to suffer long term emotional distress and low self- esteem.
New and very effective skin resurfacing treatments have been developed over the last several years that have, if not completely removed acne scars, at least diminished their appearance and severity.
Acne Fact or Fiction:
You can hear a lot of tall tales about acne today, so let's take a look at the fact or fiction of acne. It is always better to be well armed with factual information so that you don't get fooled by the fictional facts that surround acne.
Fictional Fact #1: Acne is caused by a lack of sexual activity.
Factual Fact: Acne and sexual activity are two entirely separate issues. One has no bearing on the other. Hormones secreted during puberty and young adulthood does have a bearing on acne. They also have a bearing on sexual arousal and activity. However, acne has no bearing on sexual activity nor does sexual activity have any bearing on acne.
Fictional Fact #2: People have acne because they are dirty.
Factual Fact: Dirt has no part in acne. Dirt is dirt. Acne is acne. One has nothing to do with the other. Acne is a build up of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Dirt isn't involved. Keeping the face clean can and will help to prevent clogged pores but dirt does not cause acne.
Fictional Fact #3: Dermatologists can cure acne.
Factual Fact: Dermatologists can TREAT acne. They can help to alleviate the symptoms and help to clear up the pimples, black-heads, and white heads. They can prescribe antibiotics and topical ointments, lotions, and creams that will help but there is no cure at this time for acne.
Fictional Fact #4: Acne is simply a skin problem.
Factual Fact: It's true that acne affects the skin but it can also affect the way a person sees himself or herself. Acne and the scarring it can leave behind may cause a sufferer to become depressed and develop low self-esteem, both of which can lead to larger and more complex life socialization problems. Acne sufferers need the loving support and reassurance from their family and friends.
Acne and Stress:
Can stress actually cause acne? There is ample evidence available to suggest that stress can most assuredly cause an acne breakout or make an existing breakout worse. Our bodies are highly developed chemical laboratories that produce all sorts of stuff.
At puberty, our body begins to produce an abundance of male hormones and this happens in both boys and girls. This overproduction of male hormones can happen at other times in life besides puberty; for example, when a girl or woman starting or stops taking birth control pills.
These male hormones cause the bodies sebaceous glands to shift into overdrive and begin producing sebum. The sebum then travels up hair follicles, clogs the pores and begins the acne development cycle. However, male hormones are not the only cause for the sebaceous glands to begin producing an overabundance of sebum. When we become extremely stressed or overly emotional, our bodies react by causing the adrenal glands to produce a substance known as Cortisol, which is released directly into the bloodstream. Then the chemical chain reaction continues as the sebaceous glands release sebum, the sebum travels up the same hair follicles, clogs the pores and acne develops.
The physical changes in the body can cause exactly the same chemical chain reaction as the emotional changes in the mind. The mind/body connection is very real. Maybe some of it really IS in your head. If that's the case, there is help available to help people deal with the acne that is caused by stress. Reducing stress will just naturally reduce sebum production by the sebaceous glands and reducing sebum production will help to alleviate an acne breakout. Therefore, when you learn to reduce and control you stress levels, this part of the chemical chain reaction is minimized.
It really it isn't any different than restoring a hormonal balance to your body that reduces sebum production. So, in the final analysis, both factors that cause excessive sebum production should be addressed. Solving one problem might help; however, solving both problems could eliminate acne altogether.
If you are part of the 95 of the population who suffer from acne, you have more than likely seen TV or print media advertisements for acne facials. Have you ever wondered if there is anything to the claims that their manufacturers make?
In general, the answer is yes! Most acne facials are very effective, pretty much worth the price, and can be used in conjunction with your usual acne fighting regime. They won't necessarily replace any part of what you are already doing; but, rather enhance the overall effects.
You can find acne facials in most health stores, at many cosmetic counters, and online. As a matter of fact, you can probably complete a better comparison of available products online than you can anywhere else.
Most of these acne facial products provide for a three-step program. The first step is a complete facial cleansing. The next step is a steam massage. The final step is a facial mask. The first two steps are designed to prepare the face. The steam massage softens the black heads and the white heads to remove toxins from your skin. The facial mask serves to remove the dead skin cells from the face and to moisturize it as well. The overall effect of the acne facial is a very relaxing, calming, and cleansing experience. It just plain feels good. Anything that helps to calm and sooth your stress can't be bad because we all know that acne is aggravated by high stress levels. Acne facial masks can be used in addition to other parts of your acne prevention and treatment regime or you may find that the facial can, in fact, actually replace some things that you are currently doing.
One of Newton's laws of physics laws says that, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." That law of physics spills over into a lot of our life situations. For example: A young woman gets a zit and wants to cover it up. The cosmetics industry has a multitude of products designed to do just that. Okay, that's a little far out there but you get my point.
The acne pimples, whether they are white heads or black heads should never be picked at or popped. If they are popped or picked, it can and normally does result is a scar that is much harder to get rid of than the actual pimple, black head or white head. Popping a pimple is not going to make it go away. In fact, popping a pimple is only going to make the acne worse.
Still when you get a zit, you have to go out and face the world so you are looking for ways to make your skin look clear. You want to disguise the zit and make it as unnoticeable as possible. Here is where the cosmetic industry can help. There are a multitude of products designed to make a zit less noticeable. You don't want to use a product that just adds to the problem by adding additional oil to already oily skin. So, you do need to remember, that when you use a cover product to make the zit less noticeable, you need to totally clean the product from your skin immediately when you return home.
Some of the better known as well as more effective cosmetic concealer's on the market today are:
1. Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Concealer: This product produces a smooth matte appearance and was designed specifically for covering acne blemishes as well as for covering Rosacea and dark circles under the eyes.
2. Flawless Skin by Prescriptives: This product will not aggravate acne but will supply a medium to full coverage and it contains SPF 25 for protection from the sun.
Don't let acne control you; but rather, become smart and learn how to control the negative influences in your life that create a positive situation for acne to develop!